Lobotomy, lobotomy, MLS did a job on me
August 20, 2019 6:14 PM   Subscribe

By Banning Protest Signs, Major League Soccer Is Trying To Lobotomize The Fandom It Asked For. "MLS and its clubs are currently embroiled in a fight against their own supporters over what the league claims are violations of its anti-politics rules. Over the last two weeks, multiple fans in multiple stadiums have been ejected for banners that run afoul of the league’s Fan Code of Conduct. There has also been a blanket ban on imagery pertaining to the Iron Front, an anti-fascist supporter group that spans across clubs." (SLDeadspin)
posted by Lyme Drop (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
This whole thing boils down to: the league doesn't want Trump/Fox News/etc. to meltdown and scream: MLS SUPPORTS THE TERRORITSTS ORIGNISATION KNOWN AS ANTIFA!!!!!!11

While there is an element of "racist dickhole money spends just as good as non racist dickhole money" coming from the league, the biggest thing is to prevent Trump et. al. from deciding this is their next "WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!" type focus.

It's also not helping the league that ironically this is all going on during the yearly "Support the Troops!™" games that are paid advertising from the DoD. Reddit discussions are chock full of a million comments of along the lines of "No politics in MLS, unless there is a check involved!!!".
posted by sideshow at 7:11 PM on August 20, 2019 [10 favorites]

For some reason I thought of: "I'm against picketing, but don't know how to show it". (Mitch Hederg)
posted by greenhornet at 8:25 PM on August 20, 2019 [11 favorites]

From the Christmas Truce to the Football War, there's no football without politics.
posted by pompomtom at 8:50 PM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]

One thing I thought of during dinner: The banners in question are just a subset of the flags/banners that get brought into every game. People wave flags of various countries, pride flags, flags of their supporter's groups, etc etc. At my club (Los Angeles FC), we have a "Bring NWSL to LA" flag, a Nipsy Husle flag, someone even brings a flag with the old school wresters Legion of Doom on it for some reason.

Here's a hype video from a preseason game, and you can you see we have lots and lots of banners/flags.

My point is that there all kinds of these things, but it's only the ones that will get the GOP and friends riled up that are banned.
posted by sideshow at 9:23 PM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

Ok, I'll mention it since no one else has: Nice Ramones reference :)
posted by Jaymzifer at 9:29 PM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

Someone should make a banner with "Lorem ipsum" text or similar gibberish, or even better, a completely made up style of writing. Would the league feel the need to ban it solely because it didn't understand what was being said?
posted by hypnogogue at 9:31 PM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

The slightly delightful and slightly scary thing about football is the sheer detail of the semiotics that fans and administrators get up to in pushing these limits. The Australian FFA (the leagues below the top-level A League) has recently lifted a long-term wide ban on 'ethnic' identifiers to clubs, which was in place partly because when, for example, Sydney United (formerly Sydney Croatia) played Bonnyrigg White Eagles (Serbian), every security guard had to have an expert's vexillogical knowledge of 20thC Balkan flags and emblems, and be able to contextualise which partisan group supported which side during the Occupation of Yugoslavia...
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:03 PM on August 20, 2019 [17 favorites]

That'd be a fair point sideshow except the quote by the MLS official:

Tonight an @mls official told me that the "Anti-Fascist | Anti-Racist | Always Seattle" banner is not allowed per league policy because (AND I QUOTE) "we want both sides to be able to come and watch games without politics".
posted by Carillon at 10:40 PM on August 20, 2019 [15 favorites]

expert's vexillogical knowledge of 20thC Balkan flags

In my experience of the NSL, you could pick up who hated whom pretty quickly.
posted by pompomtom at 10:50 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is so stupid and short-sighted on the part of MLS.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:04 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

In my experience of the NSL, you could pick up who hated whom pretty quickly.

It was usually everyone vs. everyone else. Unless Brunswick Juventus were playing, in which case everyone hated them.
posted by prismatic7 at 11:36 PM on August 20, 2019

From the article: “. . . nine members of the Resurgence supporters group were ejected from the stadium due to their anti-gun violence and anti-fascism signs.”

Well, if they were violent in the stadium i’d expect them to be expelled. (Yes, i know. Just rolling my eyes at the poor copyediting.)
posted by D.C. at 11:48 PM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

That'd be a fair point sideshow except the quote by the MLS official:

I was making the point that it’s not the banners themselves that’s the issue, but the messages on them. Bring a giant banner/flag to a NFL/MLB/NBA game (haven’t been to enough NHL games to know how they’d handle it), and it’ll get taken away no matter what it says.

And it’s very specific messages, even though they say “No Politics”. Giant rainbow flags are OK. Banners screaming MLS cares more about marketing than player safety are OK. Hell, a Union player screamed into the corner kick mic about Congress doing something about gun violence and he got player of the week.

But, get anywhere near anything someone who watches Fox News thinks is even Antifa adjacent, not OK.
posted by sideshow at 12:08 AM on August 21, 2019 [9 favorites]

Well, but what if the Iron Front gets in a fight with Antifa?!?!!1
posted by danielparks at 12:56 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

So how'd the three-arrow symbol get mixed in when one of those arrows originally stood for murdering the socialists who used the two-flag symbol?
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 12:56 AM on August 21, 2019

At least the browncoats shirts aren’t likely to get involved any more.
posted by danielparks at 1:01 AM on August 21, 2019

I think it's mad that being against Fascism is now controversial to the point we can't make people -who identify as fascist- feel uncomfortable at a sport played in literally every single country.*

*even Vatican City has a national team
posted by Chaffinch at 6:00 AM on August 21, 2019 [7 favorites]

NYCFC, particularly, has a bunch of skins in one of their supporter clubs. This ban is dumb and it sucks, but my guess is that is a lot to do with preventing standoffs/fights/posturing between factions.


That these guys are kind of hard-core latinx fascsist skins is just odd, but hey NYC is a weird place I guess.
posted by pilot pirx at 8:15 AM on August 21, 2019

as a red bulls fan, if they wanted to do away with the whole franchise to get rid of the problem, id be fine w that too.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:20 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Timbers, Sounders fan groups protest silently:

As part of the protest, the Timbers Army group did not display any pregame tifo as it normally does and, along with Seattle groups the Emerald City Supporters and Gorilla FC, refused to engage in organized chants, songs, choreography, flag-waving and the playing of drums or trumpets, remaining silent until the end of the 33rd minute. That time was chosen to commemorate 1933, the year the Iron Front was disbanded in Nazi Germany.

As the protest ended, the Timbers Army sang "Bella Ciao," an Italian anti-fascist anthem from World War II.

In a statement released before the game, the three groups called for MLS to rescind its ban on flying the Iron Front flag, as well as to remove the word "political" from its fan code of conduct, calling the use of the word "inherently arbitrary." The groups also asked MLS to work with international experts on human rights to craft language in the fan code of conduct that "reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination."

In recognition of the fans' complaints, both teams posed ahead of kickoff for a group photo with small banners that read "anti-fascist" and "anti-racist."

posted by Lyme Drop at 10:42 PM on August 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

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